Recently my little boy started collecting those Woolworth seedlings whenever we did the groceries. When he asked if we could plant them, I thought sure, that will a fun afternoon activity that will no doubt end with dirt through the house an hour later! But I underestimated the power of my little farmer! Each day he would water his plants, when they started to sprout, he transferred them into bigger pots until after several weeks he came into the house with a present for me…a piece of basil!
The sheer joy and pride on his little face was contagious. His patience, his nurturing and his love for his plants had paid off and our spag bol was richer for it!
Nature, good for the mind
Nature has shown to have powerful restorative and protective impacts on our mental health. Even simple exposure to nature has been shown to evoke positive emotions, as well as strengthen individual resilience. Getting into nature has been shown to have positive impacts on concentration, learning, problem solving, critical thinking capacity, and creativity as well as enhance mental health and wellbeing through encouraging physical fitness and social engagement.
If it has it’s own day in the calendar, it must be worth knowing about!
That’s right, there’s a day dedicated Nature…well one core component of nature! National Tree Day started in 1996 and has grown into Australia’s largest community tree-planting and nature care event. It’s a call to action for all Australians to get their hands dirty and give back to the community. This year, it falls on July 21, so if you’re feeling inspired, source some seedlings and get planting!
If you’re not feeling called to plant a tree (for those of you living in apartments, it might not be ideal!), here are some other ways in which you can incorporate nature into your daily/weekly activities.
- Plant a herb garden
- Buy a plant and look after it, notice what happens for the plant throughout the day, when you water it, when you forget (guilty!) and see what comes up for you as you engage with your plant
- Stand outside in nature and notice your senses- what can you see, what can you hear, what can you smell, what can you feel- noticing 3-5 of each is a great way to really soak up your surroundings.
- Sweep leaves- No, I’m not nagging you to get on with chores that may have fallen off the list! Rather, take this opportunity to soak up the sound, feel, smells, of the leaves in your yard as you clear some space for new growth to occur.
- Put out seeds and water for the local birds and notice the beauty of the feathered friends that come to visit
NB: For the South Australian residents, The Conservation Council SA currently offers a number of initiatives promoting the wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature, including nature wellness walks with SA’s first trained forest therapist. Forest therapy is a form of nature immersion that aims to reverse the impact of stress-related illness and connect people better with the natural environment. Forest therapists are trained to expose participants to a sensory experience. The approach involves walking in nature slowly and mindfully so that all senses are engaged.
So whether you are going to plant a tree on national tree day, water that fern that is looking a little thirsty, take a walk in nature or just step outside you backdoor, I hope you enjoy what you experience and that you feel inspired to bring more nature into your world.
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect
Our beautiful Provisional Psychologist, Allira Power, penned this blog.
Allira is available on Tuesdays via TeleHealth.